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Stuck in a Rut and How To Get Out

Getting Unstuck By: Katie Lister

January 26, 2024

Do you feel stuck in a rut? Are you tired of your present circumstances? All is not lost. It is possible to get out of a rut. Here is everything you need to know about getting out of a rut.

Hi, I am Katie Lister, a practicing Registered Nurse and the founder of Growth Gals. Most people get bogged down by life but do nothing about it. Being stuck in the same dreary routine can make life dull and uninspiring. This article will tell you all about being stuck in a rut, how to identify and overcome it.

Table of Contents

Katie Lister

Katie Lister

Written by Katie Lister, RN, BScN. An experienced Registered Nurse, Group Facilitator, Life Coach, and Community Leader. Read Katie's Full Author Bio

What Does Stuck in a Rut Mean?

The Cambridge English dictionary describes being stuck in a rut as “too fixed in one particular type of job, activity, method, etc., and needing to change.” Everyone goes through phases when they feel like they are mark timing and not making any progress in their personal life and career.

The phrase stuck in a rut is probably from the 1800s when wagon wheels ended up in a rut or a grove on a well-trodden path. Getting the wagon free from the track was quite tricky. With time, people likened the stuck wagon to real-life situations and the phrase stuck.

Today, we use the phrase to describe the feeling of repeating the same things, evoking feelings of boredom. You are stuck in a rut when you feel like nothing excites you anymore, and your goals have stagnated. Being stuck makes you feel dissatisfied, unmotivated, and disinterested.

Signs You Are Stuck in a Rut

There are always tell-tale signs when stuck in a rut, but it’s not always apparent as the process is gradual. You always feel like your life is on an endless loop. Nothing seems to interest you, and you start and end the day feeling exhausted, more mentally than physically.

You might keep doing the same things every day, but one day, you realize that you are not accomplishing any goals. Here are some common signs that you must get out of a rut.

·       You Have No Energy

You know how to get out of a rut but you are feeling unmotivated and have no energy when stuck in a rut. You know you need to go for a walk or send that application, but you have zero energy and no motivation. Clarity of mind becomes elusive, and simple things like decision-making become exhausting.

·       Every Day Feels the Same

You go through the motions each day as it comes. You barely know which day of the week, nor do you care, as each day feels the same as the next. You have no sense of purpose and are just existing from one day to the next.

·       You are In a Comfort Zone

You feel terrible enough to want change. However, you are in a comfort zone and fear the discomfort change will bring. Fear of failure makes you choose procrastination, making it a vicious cycle of promising to change ‘tomorrow,’ which never comes.

 For instance, you know you need to send an application for a managerial position at your workplace. You are more than qualified but fear the added responsibility and failure, so you keep postponing the issue.

·       You Make Zero Progress

Making no progress is more familiar with people in a financial rut. You work all the time, making enough money to tide you over, but like a hamster on a wheel, you can’t make any progress. You can’t seem to get that promotion, get that dream job you have been eyeing, or successfully scale your business.


Stuck in A Rut - How to Get Out

Being stuck in a rut is a state of mental health that you can overcome. To do this, you must create new habits and train your cortex to make unfamiliar connections. The cortex is the part of your brain connected to emotions, thinking, reasoning, learning, problem-solving, sensory functions, and consciousness. Here are some small steps for getting unstuck.

·       Step Out of Denial

People stuck in a rut always make excuses about everything. They make excuses about why they got stuck in a specific job or relationship unsuitable for them. Any successful person will tell you the day they started taking responsibility for their lives is when they truly started living.

Take responsibility for your own life and stop blaming other people or circumstances for being in your situation. Step out of denial and see your life for what it is, then take necessary action. If you are in an abusive or toxic relationship, see it for what it is, stop making excuses, and fix it. You have the rest of your life to look forward to once you leave your denial.

·       Look Inward

Getting out of a rut takes a lot of reflection. Look inward and identify what the problem is. Scrutinize yourself and whether your limiting beliefs are holding you back. What stories do you tell yourself about you and your capabilities? Do you suffer from imposter syndrome, holding you back from your true potential? These limiting beliefs are subconscious, so it takes deep reflection to identify them.

·       Form Healthy Habits

Lack of energy is the main culprit in this endless cycle of being stuck in a rut. You know what you need to do but lack the motivation to do it. To get the drive you need, you must start building healthy habits. It takes twenty-one days to form new habits, so make small changes and gradually build them into healthy habits.

Practice gratitude, eat healthy, identify an exercise, and move forward slowly toward your goals. If you need help, make a daily to-do list or download apps that can help keep track of your activities. Social media can also be of great help if you identify positive pages that can help boost your low energy.

·       Challenge Yourself

The human brain might be a complex organ, but you can master it- mind over matter. The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is the part of our brain responsible for decision-making. The cortex applies past experiences to make later decisions. The brain solves problems via neural pathways. Creating new neural pathways helps the brain learn how to get unstuck by taking on challenges. Take on a challenge to learn a new skill, and continue trying until you fully master the craft, which should be outside your comfort zone.

·       Seek Support

Getting out of a rut is easier said than done. Once the human brain gets stuck in specific ways, it’s not easy to reverse, but you can do it. Loved ones such as family and friends can support you, but they cannot always push you beyond what you are willing to do.

Get a life coach or attend events to help you get on the right path. You can also enlist the help of a mental health professional who can help you draw up a plan for getting unstuck.

Listening to podcasts can help you by listening to encouraging life stories of people who have come out of ruts. Identify a podcast that resonates with you and listen to it during your free time. Reading self-help books can also help you in the getting unstuck journey.


How to Avoid Getting Into a Rut

Is there something wrong with me? Getting into a rut is more accessible than getting out of it. However, you can do a few things to prevent getting stuck and move on to a successful life.

·       Prioritize Your Well-Being

You must focus and prioritize your well-being to avoid getting into a rut. Draw up a self-care plan and stick to it. Start small, and keep adding a routine, one at a time. Self-love has to become a lifestyle; otherwise, you might get stuck in a rut again. Practice positive self-talk to quiet the imposter syndrome, limit self-beliefs, and boost your self-esteem. Tell yourself you are enough and a champion whenever you feel a sense of discontentment creeping in.

Whenever you feel like your routine has become too mundane, challenge yourself to keep yourself interested. Despite giving it your best effort, you might sometimes get bored of the same pattern. Set goals and ensure you give yourself a timeline. That way, you always have something to look forward to, giving you a sense of purpose.

·       Set Realistic Goals

Unrealistic goals will only frustrate you and throw you into a rut. Set realistic goals and break them into smaller, manageable goals. For instance, if you are a content creator and you know shooting ten videos in one day is impossible, break the video shooting down and shoot them over several days.

Growth Gals Can Help You Get Out of A Rut!

This is for all the fantastic women striving to become better versions of themselves! Are you seeking a means to explore and uncover your authentic self, principles, and ambitions? Your search ends here with Growth Gals, a compassionate and encouraging community of women who offer the support you need to get unstuck.

Follow @growthgals_ on Instagram to stay updated on our goal-setting journals, coaching, and support groups. Be sure to check out our newsletter for the latest tips and tricks on personal growth. Join us now and start your journey towards self-improvement.

Stuck In A Rut - Conclusion

Stuck in a rut can make you despair, but it’s nothing new. When you feel like life is one endless and depressing loop, you need to start making changes. You can get out of a rut by stepping out of denial, looking inward, challenging yourself, and seeking support.

Avoid getting stuck by prioritizing your well-being and setting realistic goals. Don’t cram more than you can handle in one workday; spread the work over several days. This new year, take a new route and let go of the old one that wasn’t working!

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